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Community Highlights: Meet Ryan Lewis of EarthHero

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ryan Lewis.

Hi Ryan, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve always been inspired by nature and the natural world. Even as a very young kid, I used to wonder how humans were able to build huge skyscrapers but yet weren’t responsible for the beautiful mountains. As I grew up and have had the opportunities to see this planet’s beauty, I also became more and more motivated to help preserve it.

At 38 years old, and after running my prior business for over 10 years, I decided to leave in order to start something that was more focused on helping solve the problem. Back in 2015, I found the idea of shopping and consuming sustainably challenging. Most stores and websites made it difficult to understand what really matters, and greenwashing was everywhere.

The idea of having the world’s most sustainable goods in one trusted, informative, and easy-to-use marketplace, so people would find it easy to use is what motivated me to start EarthHero. My thinking was that every time somebody changed their consumption habits to gentler and more sustainable routines, it creates less demand and production of more harmful products.

The goal is to educate, inspire, and create a community of like-minded people to help accelerate the movement to preserve our natural resources and reduce as much waste as possible. We are on a mission to create this new norm.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Ha! The idea of thinking this has been “smooth” is comical. We launched without perfect information and into an industry that was relatively new. Ensuring that we are sourcing the most sustainable products on the market will always keep us on our toes. We also go out of our way to find the most qualified and passionate team members.

Covid also kept us challenged. In the early days, it was trying to figure out how to go mostly remote, while also staying safe shipping orders. A few months in, our sales surged as retail shut down and people shifted to online purchasing. While this was good for business, it stressed everything.

We needed to upgrade our internal systems, find new space, and design a new website to allow for the increased volume. These all sound like “good” problems, but it also does a disservice to our customers and team members.

These days, there are a lot more brands, products, and information related to our mission, and a lot more noise. The challenge now is ensuring we are continuing to be a leading platform and voice for the movement. We also need to be careful to invest our limited resources carefully, so we can continue to grow in a sustainable way.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about EarthHero?
EarthHero is a mission-based e-commerce company based out of Louisville, Colorado. Our goal is to make sustainable shopping as easy as possible so that, eventually, it becomes second nature for all consumers to shop ethically, responsibly, and climate-friendly.

We started back in 2017, and in the last 5 years, are proud of our growth and future as a sustainable company, and how we’ve been able to support the movement. As a climate-focused company, we meticulously source all of our brands and products to ensure our customers can shop knowing their values are top of mind for us. We look at everything, from how a product is made to what it’s made of to how the brand gives back to the community as well as company ownership.

We prioritize supporting brands that care for our planet and the people on it and know our customers care about that too. We are so proud to have over 250 brands and thousands of products that our customers love and come back to. We sell everything from sustainable and healthy personal care items, to planet-friendly cleaning products and even toys made from recycled milk jugs.

Moreover, our brands range from easily recognizable (like Cotopaxi and Hydro Flask) to 2-person teams working out of their apartment (like Tiradia and Hive to Home). Our goal is to have something for everybody and to offer a sustainable version of anything a customer could want.

In addition, we also offer sustainable corporate gifting and branded SWAG options. We have curated product themes we turn into inspiring employee appreciation gift boxes or to help companies celebrate anniversaries and birthdays. The holidays are the perfect time for businesses to make the move to sustainable gifting!

We’re also a 1% for the Planet member which means we donate 1% of our sales to social and environmental causes. One of our favorite partners is Eden Reforestation Projects, which responsibly plants trees around the world to promote reforestation and help reverse the effects of climate change.

To date, we’ve planted over 170,000 trees with Eden Reforestation and are proud of the immense impact we’ve been able to support year-round. Beyond that, we recently became Climate Neutral Certified, and also just re-certified as a B Corp, both of which involved extensively assessing our business practices and environmental sustainability. We’re always looking to do better each and every day and have big goals for our future.

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
If you are considering starting your first business, there are a few things to consider.

– Choose something you really care about, and want to dedicate a significant portion of your mind space, time, and energy. Because, when times are challenging you’ll need that motivation to keep going.

– Surround yourself with smart people and informal advisors. Ideally, you have a mentor to that has successfully achieved similar goals.

– Set up boundaries and personal routines so your business doesn’t become all-consuming.

– Have fun with it!

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